Arsenal are readying themselves for West Ham United’s visit at the Emirates, with Unai Emery set to retain most of his trusted stars in the lineup.
Arsenal are looking for their first points of the 2018-19 Premier League season on Saturday when they face off against West Ham United at the Emirates. Unai Emery has been speaking positive things about his squad despite losing the first two games, and is in an optimistic mood ahead of the game.
Arsenal do have a few injury concerns, with most of them being long-term absentees. Sead Kolasinac, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Laurent Koscielny are all sidelined with their respective injuries, and will miss out on Saturday. Apart from the trio though, the Gunners do not have any fresh roster issues.
As far as the team selection goes, Emery has left fans guessing for the first two games, a trend he is set to continue against West Ham as well. The significant changes are expected in midfield more than anywhere else. However, the choice of players will also depend on the formation the Spaniard chooses to play with and he spoke openly about it during his pre-game press conference.
“We are working on different situations tactically. In the first we are playing with four at the back, then we have two and one, and one and two. With two and one, it is like a 4-2-3-1 and one, two, is for a 4-1-4-1 or a 4-3-3. We have players who train in this system.”
On Saturday, the Arsenal boss will likely stick with the more attack-minded 4-2-3-1 formation and this is how his potential lineup could look like.
Bernd Leno has to wait for a bit longer before he can make his Arsenal debut, as Emery is set to stick with Petr Cech between the posts. Hector Bellerin, Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi and Nacho Monreal are all expected to keep their places at the back, although there were some rumours about Stephan Lichsteiner being given the nod at right-back.
The midfield area is the most changed one since Emery took over, and Arsenal have plenty of options there to afford the changes. Matteo Guendouzi has been the most impressive player for the Gunners thus far, and should start again against West Ham. But, with his place likely cemented in the side, it would be interesting to see who Emery deploys as his partner in midfield.
Lucas Torreira is another player who is yet to make his first start for Arsenal, but Emery is expected to reinstate Aaron Ramsey in the lineup to partner Guendouzi. Attacking performers from the Chelsea game, Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are likely to keep their places in the side, as could Mesut Ozil, despite being unconvincing.
Finally, as far as strikers are concerned, many fans wanted Emery to pair Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette together in a game from the start. But, that will have to wait for a bit longer, as Emery suggested his focus is more on bringing the midfield together. This effectively means Arsenal will stick with a lone striker in Aubameyang, for now.